Wonga Future 50: WhipCar

Got a car you aren’t using? Then rent it out through WhipCar.

Launched in 2010, WhipCar was the first service of its kind in the world. Since then, it has has logged 19,000 vehicles for rental across the UK. In London, 90 per cent of people now have a WhipCar available within half a mile of their home.

Membership is free for both car owners and drivers. Driver members pay a flat rate booking fee of £3 per rental and car owners pay a 15 per cent (+VAT) commission on their rental income. Car owners typically earn more than £1,000 a year; rental prices can be up to half the price of traditional rental companies.

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The genius of the scheme is how easy it is to run. Unlike Zipcar or other car clubs, WhipCar does not need to maintain its fleet. And it can have huge geographic spread: if one person in Orkney wishes to list a car then it will make economic sense to do so (they have nothing to lose, not even insurance costs, as the driver pays that).

In fact, the whole firm is run by just ten employees from Great Portland Street in London. 

Disruptive? Consider that around a quarter of UK households do not own a car and in large cities, such as London, more than 40 per cent are not car owners.

Could be big. Very big.

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